Archive for April 18th, 2012 | Daily archive page
Dick Clark, the music industry maverick, longtime TV host and powerhouse producer who changed the way we listened to pop music with “American Bandstand,” and whose trademark “Rockin’ Eve” became a fixture of New Year’s celebrations, died today at the age of 82.
Clark’s agent Paul Shefrin said in statement that the veteran host died this morning following a “massive heart attack.”
Born in Mount Vernon, N.Y., on Nov. 30, 1929, Richard Wagstaff Clark began his lifelong career in show business began before he was even out of high school. He started working in the mailroom of WRUN, a radio station in upstate New York run by his father and uncle. It wasn’t long before the teenager was on the air, filling in for the weatherman and the announcer.
Clark pursued his passion at Syracuse University, working as a disc jockey at the student-run radio station while studying for his degree in business. After graduating in 1951, Clark went back to his family’s radio station, but within a year, a bigger city and bigger shows were calling.
Clark landed a gig as a DJ at WFIL in Philadelphia in 1952, spinning records for a show he called “Dick Clark’s Caravan of Music.” There he broke into the big time, hosting Bandstand, an afternoon dance show for teenagers.
Blazing a New Trail in Pop Music
“American Bandstand’s” formula was simple. Clean-cut boys and girls danced to the hottest hits and the newest singles. In between, Clark chatted with the teens, who helped “rate-a-record,” turning songs into sensations. Everyone showed up on “American Bandstand,” from Elvis Presley to Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry to Chubby Checker.
When Dick Clark moved to Hollywood in 1963, “American Bandstand” moved with him. He started Dick Clark Productions, and began cranking out one hit show after another; his name became synonymous with everything from the $25,000 “Pyramid” to “TV’s Bloopers & Practical Jokes” to the “American Music Awards.” In 1972, Dick Clark became synonymous with one of the biggest nights of the year.
New Year’s Rockin’ Eve
“Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” on ABC became a Dec. 31 tradition, with Clark hosting the festivities for more than three decades, introducing the entertainment acts and, of course, counting down to midnight as the ball dropped in New York’s Times Square.
But the traditional celebration saw a temporary stop in 2004, when Clark suffered a stroke that left him partially paralyzed and struggling to speak. Regis Philbin stepped in. But by the next New Year’s Eve, Dick Clark was back, his speech still impaired. In halting words, he told the audience, “I had to teach myself how to walk and talk again. It’s been a long, hard fight. My speech is not perfect but I’m getting there.”
But that didn’t stop him: he returned each year, and recently he was joined by Ryan Seacrest.
The Museum of Broadcast Communications has done the math, and figures that Dick Clark Productions has turned out more than 7,500 hours of television programming, including more than 30 series and 250 specials, as well as more than 20 movies for theatre and TV.
All this earned Clark a long list of awards and accolades: Emmys, Grammys, induction in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It also made him one of the richest men in Hollywood; he also had stakes in a wide range of businesses, including restaurants, theatres and real estate.
In March of (2012/this year), he put one of his homes on the market, asking $3.5 million for a one-of-a-kind house on 22 acres in Malibu, modeled after Fred and Wilma’s house on “The Flintstones.”
“America’s Oldest Teenager”
Clark, whose eternally youthful look earned him the nickname “America’s Oldest Teenager”, is survived by his three children and his third wife, Keri Wigton, married to him since 1977. He credited his appearance to good genes, once saying “if you want to stay young looking, pick your parents very carefully.”
Now, America’s Oldest Teenager is gone, leaving his indelible mark on generations of fans, and helping change rock ‘n’ roll and TV forever. His signature sign-off was always “For now, Dick Clark … so long,” said with a salute. Today, generations of Americans are saluting back
Revered drummer and singer of group the Band described as terminally ill in note posted to his website by daughter and wife
Levon Helm, the revered multi-instrumentalist and singer for the group the Band, is in the final stages of cancer, according to his family.
A heartbreaking note appeared on the musician’s website Tuesday announcing that he is terminally ill:
Levon is in the final stages of his battle with cancer. Please send your prayers and love to him as he makes his way through this part of his journey.
Thank you fans and music lovers who have made his life so filled with joy and celebration… he has loved nothing more than to play, to fill the room up with music, lay down the back beat, and make the people dance! He did it every time he took the stage…
We appreciate all the love and support and concern.
From his daughter Amy, and wife Sandy
Helm was scheduled to play Wellmont Theater in New Jersey earlier this month but cancelled due to a back injury. At the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Saturday, former bandmate Robbie Robertson sent “love and prayers” out to Helm.
Helm was diagnosed with throat cancer in the 1990s but had since beaten it back. In the fall of 2007 he released the brilliant album Dirt Farmer, Helm’s first studio solo recording since 1982. His voice, silenced by the disease, had returned a little thinner, but with its characteristic grit and class. It won him a Grammy for the year’s best traditional folk album.
Helm, who grew up working on an Arkansas farm, is known for a soulfully gravelled vocal delivery – country-baked and whiskey soaked. He can be heard singing and playing on many of the Band’s most classic recordings, such as The Weight, Up on Cripple Creek, Ophelia and The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.
A man with a presense that is as authentic as it is endearing, Helm also had a successful sideline career as an actor starring, most notably, alongside Sissy Spacek as Loretta Lynn’s father in Coal Miner’s Daughter.
|Emmer wishes Minnesota’s politics more closely resembled Wisconsin’s.|
As you’d expect, some outrageous comments were uttered during the course of the festivities. According to the West Central Tribune, the rally’s opening prayer included a line calling President Obama the “liar in chief” – a far cry from “Lord, please forgive me for my sins,” no?
Hennen, for his part, called Obama a “fiscal child abuser,” a characterization he supported by referencing the fact that government debt will be passed onto future generations.
But the pièce de résistance came courtesy of Emmer. Discussing a possible world where he defeated Mark Dayton in 2010 and become governor, Emmer said that with the help of a GOP-controlled legislature, an Emmer Administration would “make Wisconsin look like the poor ugly step-child that they are.” Seems more like more of a threat than a promise to us, but obviously we’re not Kandiyohi County tea partiers.
Responding to Emmer’s remark, Bluestem Prairie’s Sally Jo Sorensen writes: “Because nobody gets enough total recall, mass protest and duct tape on capitol marbles.”
In any event, the tone of the rally suggests that we should buckle up for another campaign season chock-full of divisive rhetoric.
Rita Crundwell is seen with one of her horses at an American Quarter Horse Association event.
The chief financial officer of a small Illinois city — a woman who had a lavish lifestyle that included a $2.1 million motor home and a horse farm — is under arrest, accused of embezzling $30 million from the city.
Rita Crundwell, 58, was arrested Tuesday at City Hall in Dixon, Ill., the Chicago Tribune reported, and later charged with wire fraud.
Paid a salary of $80,000 a year, Crundwell spent large sums to operate her 150-horse Meri-J Ranch, as well as $340,000 on jewelry and $2.1 million on a luxury motor home, the FBI alleges in its criminal complaint.
Burke went to the FBI after an employee covering for Crundwell while she was away discovered an unusual bank account with multiple six-figure transactions. The account was in the city’s name but included “RSCDA” as a co-account holder, and that turned out to be Crundwell, the FBI said. Funds from the account had been withdrawn over time.
Purchases allegedly made by Crundwell with city funds include a $146,000 Kenworth truck, a $140,000 Freightliner truck, a $57,000 Chevy Silverado pickup and a $259,000 horse trailer.
Dixon, a city of 15,000 and boyhood home of President Ronald Reagan, has an annual budget of less than $9 million a year. The city has had budget cuts over the years, Burke said, but Crundwell argued some of the financial shortfalls were due to funds owed by the state.
Crundwell’s Meri-J Ranch says on its website that horses bred by her have won 52 world champions.
Crundwell is well known on the horse circuit, having appeared at countless shows.
Several YouTube videos by the American Quarter Horse Association relate her success raising and showing horses, and already on Wednesday some viewers were voicing their anger.
“Rita Crundwell should be banished from all (record) books and be forced to give back all trophies and of course these is no money to give back but she should be banished from all records,” wrote one YouTube viewer. “The reserve winners should get their rightful earnings and trophies.”